After two Aboriginal Australian actors accused Neighbours cast and crew of on-set racism, the show’s production company Fremantle Media has announced an independent review into the program.
Last week, Shareena Clanton, a Wongatha, Yamatji, Noongar and Gitja woman and former Neighbours cast member, shared her experience of racism on the Neighbours set.
Her allegations included the use of the N-word twice on set by a cast member, an actress referring to a younger actress of colour as a ‘lil’ monkey’, and paying for a Wurundjeri Elder to be on set out of her own income after production refused to employ one.
A white actress laughed when the N word was used, and then denied laughing when asked by the HR department.
She described the show’s environment as “culturally unsafe.”
Mayne Wyatt, a Wongutha-Yamatji man actor and the show’s first Aboriginal Australian cast regular, supported Clanton’s experience.
He also wrote that the set was not only racist but hostile towards the LGBTQ+ community. Clanton also referred to sexism on set, including a Head of Department laughing at a cast member using the phrase “cum slut”.
According to Clanton, when she spoke out about these incidences, she was told by HR that they didn’t know what else they could do. Since speaking out publically, she has been the subject of online harassment.
Now, Fremantle Media, who produce the show, have announced an independent review of the show led by Campfire X.
Campfire X is an Indigenous Australian owned and led creative consultancy.
Fremantle Asia Pacific’s CEO, Chris Oliver-Taylor, said in a statement that, “Fremantle is committed to providing an environment where employees and others in the workplace are treated fairly and with respect, and are free from unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and bullying.”
“We have asked Campfire X, creative leaders in indigenous cultural protocols, to conduct an independent review of Neighbours and the production process.”
A former British Neighbours cast member, Nicola Charles, has also alleged that two cast members tried to get her deported during her time on the show.
In her upcoming book Soap Star, Charles – who appeared on the show in the 1990s and 2010s – alleged that she found a handwritten letter from two cast members addressed to the immigration department. It was sent just after her six-month probation period on the show ended in 1996 before her contract was renewed.
According to Charles, the cast members accused her of taking a job away from an Australian.
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